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Blu Ray drive for Mac Pro (1 Viewer)

Nelson Au

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Hey guys,

I thought I’d check with you guys to see if you’ve had any experiences with adding a Blu Ray drive to your Macs.

I have the 2013 Mac Pro, the last of the towers of that era. It’s still running strong on High Sierra. Haven’t quite made the jump to Mojave yet. I do have an Nvidia Quadro Card in it so it’s qualified for Metal.

I’ve been looking at external Blu Ray drives to use on this Mac or a 2013 Retina MacBook Pro. But mainly on the Mac Pro. I want to be able to read and play commercial Blu Ray disc from my film and TV collection.

An internal drive is possible as I have two super drives on this Mac so I could swap out one super drive for a Blu Ray. But I figure an external is more useful.

I’ve looked at a drive from Pioneer,
Pioneer BDR-XD05B 6x Slim Portable USB 3.0 BD/DVD/CD Burner. The reviews seem mixed as some say it plug and plays fine on their iMacs and others say they did not and required a lot of software to be added. Maybe there’s an Apple version of this drive.

I’d be interested in any insights you guys might have. Thanks!
 

Nelson Au

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Thanks Sam. I am not aware of Buffalo. I’ll look that up. I was going to go with the Pioneer since you mentioned it works great. :)
 

jcroy

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The few Buffalo external bluray drives I have come across, were Samsung rebadges.

Unfortunately Samsung's computer optical drive manufacturing operations filed for bankruptcy back in 2016.

I have no idea if Buffalo is still in the computer bluray drive business. I haven't seen any models in any local computer shops over the past several years.
 

jcroy

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Nowadays there's only really two oem manufacturers of bluray drives left:

- Pioneer
- LG

(Both internal and external).

Just about everybody else has exited the bdr drive market, or they have just rebadged an LG model. (In recent times, I haven't seen any rebadged Pioneer bdr drives).

If you're willing to go fishing around on the used markets, there are many more choices (ie. LiteOn, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony Optiarc, etc ...).
 

JohnRice

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I've generally had problems with bus powered slim optical drives, so I exclusively use full size models and install them in an A/C powered enclosure. Preferably one with a fan. I have several, I know one or two are LG and maybe a Sony. Then you'll need software to be able to play a BR disc, since the OS doesn't support that. I can't help there, since I don't use them that way.
 

jcroy

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I've generally had problems with bus powered slim optical drives, so I exclusively use full size models and install them in an A/C powered enclosure. Preferably one with a fan.

I agree.

I do the poor man's version of this. I take the side panel of computer case away entirely, and keep the internal dvd/bluray drive sitting on the desk next to the computer. The dvd/bluray drive is connected with slightly longer sata + power cables.

I keep a small $5 desk fan blowing directly onto the dvd/bluray drive whenever I'm using the drive.
 

jcroy

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Whenever I'm doing big ripping jobs of numerous cd, dvd, or bluray discs, I'll swap out a drive if it is generating too much heat (even with a fan blowing directly on it). For example, in my experience Pioneer's dvd/bluray drives seem to generate a lot of heat than other manufacturers.

Since the sata spec alllows for hot swapping, one can just unplug the sata/power cables from an overheated dvd/bluray drive and swap in another dvd/bluray drive without having to reboot the computer. (I don't know if Macs allow for hot swapping of stuff via sata connections).
 

DaveF

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I’ve been looking at external Blu Ray drives to use on this Mac or a 2013 Retina MacBook Pro. But mainly on the Mac Pro. I want to be able to read and play commercial Blu Ray disc from my film and TV collection.
Do you hope to read UHD discs too?

Can’t speak to Mac. But for my Win10 pc I have the internal LG WH16NS40, from 2016-ish. It’s been a champ. I’ve used it for hundreds of discs the past three years.
 

Nelson Au

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Hey guys- thanks for the input! So many options. Looks like I’ll do a little more research on these drives you’ve mentioned.

Dave, I would not rule out UHD discs, but I wasn’t planning to use them. Nor was I going to use 3D discs either. But who knows. :)

While I’m a Mac person, I am researching the components to build a Windows PC for my CAD work I use for work. So daunting with the component selections. So I may end up having a BD drive there too. But the drive would have to be an external one. I had not thought of doing a drive in it’s own case with a power supply.

Thanks again!
 

JohnRice

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I had not thought of doing a drive in it’s own case with a power supply
Just pick out which full size drive you want, then put it in an enclosure lie THIS or THIS. It takes about 10 minutes. Unfortunately, they don't seem to make them with fans anymore. The fans tended to be noisy, and I'd go to the trouble of getting a much better 40mm fan and replacing the one it came with.
 

DaveF

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Dave, I would not rule out UHD discs, but I wasn’t planning to use them. Nor was I going to use 3D discs either. But who knows. :)
My feeling is that blu-bay drives are commodities if you solely want to use them for data and watching HD movies.

But if you’re interested in HTPC uses with 4K discs, research is required into what drives are supported for your goals.
 

jcroy

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Dave, I would not rule out UHD discs, but I wasn’t planning to use them. Nor was I going to use 3D discs either. But who knows. :)

3D bluray isn't a big issue in regard to unofficial unlicensed playback.

Though unofficial unlicensed playback of 4Kbluray UHD discs is an entirely different story. It turns out nobody has been able to easily crack Pioneer's 4Kbluray drive yet for unofficial unlicensed playback.

Unfortunately unofficial unlicensed playback of 4Kbluray UHD movie discs can only be done with LG bluray-r drives with a certain older firmware. Newer firmwares remove this loophole.
 
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jcroy

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Personally I have my own reservations about LG manufactured drives.

If you play a lot of cd/dvd/bluray movie discs with significant damage or manufacturing defects, unfortunately LG drives are designed to just "bulldoze" through the uncorrectable damaged sectors. In contrast, drives from many other manufacturers will return back a read error on uncorrectable damaged sectors. This "bulldozing" behavior of LG drives will just return back sectors filled with zeros with no read error, whenever it encounters uncorrectable damaged sectors.

Pioneer bluray drives don't appear to have this annoying "bulldozing" behavior. So when it encounters uncorrectable damaged sectors, the Pioneer drives (with a renesas chipset) will just return back a read error.
 

jcroy

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So if you're insisting on absolute data integrity on optical disc playback (ie. for non-movie data storage), you might not want to be using an LG manufactured drive solely.
 

jcroy

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Nevertheless if you insist on using an LG manufactured drive for reading dvd discs and want absolute data integrity, it turns out Asus' current DRW-24F1ST dvd drives (with a 2018 or 2019 manufacturing date) are basically rebadged LG dvd drives with a different firmware which does not have this "bulldozing" behavior on uncorrectable damaged sectors on dvd discs. It is what one would (and should) expect from a $20 bog standard dvdr drive.

I don't have much first hand experience with Asus' other recent dvd and/or bluray drive models, in regard to the cd and bluray disc playback behavior. (The only thing I know is that Asus' bluray drives are LG rebadges, while their dvdr drives DRW-24B1ST and 24B3ST models appear to be LiteOn iHAS124 F rebadges).
 

jcroy

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Question for the OP.

Are you going to be using any dvd/bluray drives for things like scanning / quality tests?
 

Nelson Au

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Hey guys, you’ve given me a lot to consider. I even looked up the internal drives to install in a case as was suggested above or in the Mac Pro itself.

JR, to answer your question is entering an area where the home theater forum rules discourage. Let’s say I want to be able to back up my blu ray films into digital files. This is my main interest. I’m not going to try to watch a blu ray movie on my Mac or use it as an HTPC via a blu ray drive. With physical media going the way of the dinosaur, I wanted to look into preserving my investment.

By the way, your post about the LG drives gave me some good insight as I was leaning towards a Pioneer drive.
 

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